Make Money in College: From Jobs to Selling On Etsy

Money, money, money. It seems like not much is discussed besides money during college. Granted, there is a good reason for that. College is by no means a small investment.

Although it might seem unrealistic and terrifying to think about all of the money you’ll be putting into the next hour years, there are quite a few ways to help make you (and your parents) feel at least a little more prepared.


Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. Get a job! There are two paths you can go on for this option to make money in college.

The first one is work-study. Not everyone is eligible for this, but depending on your financial situation you could use this to get a job on campus. The only downside to this sort of job is the hours. If you really want to get a lot of hours in, this is not the way to go because work-study jobs are usually limited with how much you can work.

The second option is just a normal job. Depending on where your campus is located and how your transportation is, you can pretty much get a part-time job anywhere. If you live in a college town, businesses are usually pretty flexible when it comes to the kind of hours you can work. Server jobs are in abundance so always check around with restaurants if you need a job ASAP.

Research studies

At the beginning of the year, I was emailed and asked if I wanted to be put on a list for a possible candidate for research studies. I have gotten emails throughout the year from a variety of different people regarding different studies, which almost always include some sort of compensation.

There has been everything from eye tests to cognitive skills to tests for people with high blood pressure. Sometimes they are very specific and will automatically rule you out, but you’ll have the occasional study that will fit your criteria. These usually result in an easy way to money in college (sometimes gift cards) and all just for some time out of your week.


Like a job but tailored for your career path! Let’s get this out there right away, not all internships are paid. There are quite a few out there just made for experience so make sure you know that before you get your hopes up and assume this is good way to make money in college.

Internships are vital for your college career. They are the building blocks for your resume and your future career. Nobody is going to want to hire someone unless they have experience in a work-like-environment. The types of internships will vary with the different fields people are pursuing.

Sometimes they are during the summer and others occur during the school year. Some will require you to go to a different city while others might be all done over the computer. Keep in contact with your majors department to keep updated on new internship opportunities.

Donating plasma

This one is definitely not for everyone but it is very popular in the college community. It is exactly what it sounds like; you are selling your plasma!

You must be 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and have a medical screening test to make sure you won’t transmit any sort of disease through your plasma. But besides that, anyone can do it (as long as you’re okay with needles, which I am not.) You can donate up to two times per week and can be paid between $15 and $25. It’s a quick and easy way to make money in college on the side.

Sell stuff on Ebay/Etsy

I’ve recently seen an increase in people selling things on Ebay and Etsy. Ebay more for unneeded items lying around and Etsy more for handmade items.

Ebay is a somewhat easy way to make money in college from some of the items you won’t need (or able to fit) in your dorm room. I know I have a couple of guitars sitting around that could easily be sold on Ebay. You might want to talk to someone who has sold on there before but once you know the basics, scrounge around for gently used items which could have a more welcoming home.

Do you make jewelry, shirts, or any other cool, unique product? Open an Etsy store. I know quite a few people who have cute little hobbies that produce fun items to sell on the Internet. It can also be used to sell clothes. Now that thrifting has become a hot trend, people have made it a job to find nice items at Goodwill and sell them for some nice cash rewards.

So you see, if a job won’t fit into your schedule or you feel like you want to find a new way to make money in college, you have plenty of other options. Tailor your money-making options to whatever makes you happiest!

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Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas is a freshman at University of Iowa studying Journalism and Nonfiction Creative Writing. She plans to one day be able to get paid to travel around the world writing about her adventures. The day you can find her travel book on the shelves of bookstores will be the day she has finally reached her life goal. When she is not pursuing her dreams of travel writing, she is either at the University's radio station or on her computer wasting time on Tumblr and Netflix.